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retiring to Hungary from the US

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bettymike123
6/26/2014 14:09 EST

My wife and I are thinking of retiring to Budapest from the US, Does Hungary issue pensioner"s visas to US citizens? How do you legally remain in country beyond the 90/180 day limits placed on passports by the Schengen Treaty?

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peddington
6/27/2014 15:36 EST

Greetings, think twice about Hungary! Bureaucracy is ridiculous here and you need a lot of patients! But if you do no you can't stay beyond the 90 days unless you apply for extended stay typically 1 year. It will cost 18,000 forints an application proof of income and health insurance. They will make a decision within a month which is "very fast" for Hungary! Let me know if you have any questions!

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HU3rdWORLD
7/5/2014 11:37 EST

Hello,

I wish I could exchange my hungarian citizenship with yours (by the way I have another citizenship but I wouldn't give up on it).

But seriously, Peddington gave you a good advice, think twice...and DO NOT DO IT!!! it's really not worth it.

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peddington
7/6/2014 03:04 EST

...On a side note! Apart of some "patriotic" thing/feeling the Hungarian citizenship is only good for ONE thing. Get to stay in the EU indefinitely and won't have to worry about visa or residency permits past the 90 days. If you elderly you would have the "side" benefit of free or nearly free travel on public trans, buses, metro and trains. Besides that I don't see a point. Yes they will "charge" you extra sometimes if you are not a citizen but hey if they take an advantage on their own citizens why not on "foreign fools" --- right?!

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Hotjazzman
7/8/2014 16:44 EST

Hi Bettymike123;
Paddington is a local resident, with a fair amount of animosity for HU. He pretends to be an Anglosaxon, but just check his spelling and sentence construction and you'll see... Unfortunately, there are some Hungarian born people, who are of a different ethnicity and consequently have a visceral hatred of HU and of Hungarians.

Anyway, for your questions:
Yes, HU does issue pensioner resident visas for indefinite stay. A proof of income is mandatory. Wait time is long, b/c a new law has been enacted, whereby people of Hungarian ethnicity from neighboring countries (mainly) can apply for HU citizenship, who actually number in the millions. Not all apply of course, but the immigration office's workload has increased substantially, resulting in a longer processing time.

Bureaucracy is pretty thick and crazy, but they are kind and very helpful - unlike in the US (Remember the MVA there for example?). I had nothing but help, each and every time, wherever and whenever I had to go to, although the paperwork is daunting. But once you're through and got your permit, you don't have to deal with it.

If you rent initially, make sure your rental contract is signed by a Notary, but keep in mind, a Hungarian notary is something like a Canadian notary; they are full fledged lawyers, with additional special powers. There'd be a fee, but this way you're protected.

If you buy, the real estate agent will help you through the legal maze. For a non-Hungarian citizen a permit is required to buy a residence (farmland is prohibited), but nowadays it's just a formality. A 4% tax will be imposed on the purchase price (bill comes from the NAV in about 4-5 mos payable in a matter of days - you better not be traveling). Closing costs are 100K for the lawyer and title registration - the lawyer does it. You have to settle utilities, but no other tacked-on charges like title search, title insurance, county, state, city fees, real estate taxes, tax stamps, etc. Try to buy a lien-free property, on those the settlement is done in an hour. The agent's fee is paid by the seller, but you, the buyer, must bring that portion in cash plus the lawyer's fee in cash as well, to the settlement.

Some caveats: There are no disclosure laws, no home inspection contingencies, no automatic conveyances (no fridge, stove, wash'g machine or even attached light fixtures.)
Be ready, that there'll be no staging, decluttering or even cleaning of the properties you'll be shown.

Transferring of utilities is a major pain, and must be done in person at the utilities' office(s) together with the previous owner. Don't worry. they are motivated to go with you, b/c until they transfer it to you, they're stuck with the bill.

Here is the beauty though, no real estate taxes. Condo fees are a fraction of those in the US, and they often include the water. In Budapest some districts have some kind of tax, but it's a truly nominal amount - like $100/year, and they'll not evict you and auction off your property even if you're a year or more late (6 mos in TX - in the US)

Once the hurdles are done, expats love it here. There is a richness of stimuli of every sort, which just isn't in the US. This city both gorgeous and is ALIVE. However, winters are pretty cold and can be dreary past New year. You should have a warmer spot (with palm trees) to go to, from January until beginning-to-middle of April. (Suggest So.Spain - if want to stay in Europe).

Go for it, the overwhelming odds are, that you'll like it. As for the fake-Anglo Paddington, a padded cell is just the right place - if you get my drift...

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Hotjazzman
7/8/2014 16:54 EST

Clarification to my posting: The 100K for the real estate lawyer+title registration is in HUF - about $445 (currently).

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johnnyatkinson
7/8/2014 17:44 EST

An excellent response. I am fairly new here but as a Canadian I am able to help. Feel free to ask.

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Hotjazzman
7/8/2014 17:52 EST

HU3rdWorld:
It's not hard to figure out what "other" country you're the citizen of... I think it's been in existence only since 1948, huh? Why don't you do yourself a favor and move there? We'd be BOTH happier.

Hundreds, but more likely thousands, of US expats are living here. Some are students in Vet and Med schools, Corvinus Univ. - all English language universities. And then there are all the others, who are here for a myriad of reasons.
I even met one expat, originally from CA, who was (is?) living here illegally(!), leaving and coming back every three mos. He was teaching business English. Last time I saw him at one of the expat watering holes, he was here for at least 5 or 6 years.

And then there was a marine guard at the US embassy who after 5 years couldn't extend his BUD posting/assignment any longer, and he was very-very unhappy about it; he was posted here only for one year originally, but decided, that this place was just peachy.

And then there was this girl from Boston, who traveling through Europe with her friend on vacation, and decided that THIS was the place she wanted to live, packed and moved, and got a job with a US company. She had no Hungarian ancestry nor could she speak a word of Hungarian.

And then there is this guy from Pittsburgh, gone to Corvinus (in English language) for a master's, got it, and then deciding to stay for good - bought a condo - but enough stories, you've got the pic.

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peddington
7/9/2014 07:28 EST

Indeed, strange people exist everywhere. I'm sure some Americans even moved to Russia. Go figure...

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peddington
7/9/2014 07:33 EST

That's really funny "Hotjazzman" --- Fake Anglo, ha! You sure got me pegged. But that doesn't change the fact of my post! Hungary has many good points but their sales tax (27%) and bureaucracy is the worst in the World --- still! As for the "padded cell" I'll save the bunk next to mine for you!

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Hotjazzman
7/9/2014 10:11 EST

If you'd be a true American/Canadian you'd KNOW the proper terminologies. But you don't.
You've been outed - again. You're moaning like a relatively poor native Hungarian about that tax you have mentioned.

Education time fake Anglo:
It is not a "sales tax". It is a Value Added Tax; VAT - for short. VAT is always included in the final (shown/advertised) price.

"Sales tax" is added at the point of sale to the posted price and in some places (countries) certain items are exempt, or under certain conditions (with proof) they don't have to be paid.

Some areas in the US (like New York city) a dual sales tax applies, one for the state of NY and the other for the city of NY. In this instance, the combined amount is 9%.

Canadian VAT (GST) plus PST (provincial sales tax) can be steep too with federal and provincial taxes piled on each other. Quebec's is currently at 15%, but the GST/VAT is hidden (included in the posted price). However, PST is added at the point of sale. BTW: the province of NS is also at 15%.

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Hotjazzman
7/9/2014 11:15 EST

Another gotcha! Paddington...

If you'd be a real N. American with an adequate enough of knowledge-base acquired to live (and make a living) in HU, you'd know about (English language) RT TV. And if you'd know about and have had seen RT, you'd not be "guessing" that Americans have moved-to and live in Russia. You'd actually KNOW and would have seen a fair number of them continuously on RT, both as RT people/employees of course, and on the street as well, through interviews, news specials, information skits, and other cultural type specials.

RT TV is pretty darn big now in the States, it's on cable and satellite everywhere and in the DC area it has a continuous over-the-air broadcasting (channel 30.4, call letters:WNVT, MHz Networks. Fairfax, VA, UHF digital) There may be other localities of RT's over-the-air presence in the US as well, I haven't done a search.

I think lately more people watch RT (in the US) for international news than CNN... You want proof? Here it is: Larry King is no longer with CNN. Clarification: He WAS NOT fired. But: He moved to RT TV. Why? Bigger viewership than CNN.

BTW: this is not a plug for RT. It's just to illustrate and expose a/the faker/pretender

In case you didn't know: Snowden is in Russia too...

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Hotjazzman
7/9/2014 11:54 EST

To the couple who wants to move here.

Like I said previously, the winters past New Year, are generally no fun here b/c of the weather (at 4pm it's pitch black). Weeks(!) can go without any sun or any blue skies.

Some however made the mistake of buying a winter property in FL to go to, escaping those crappy three mos. For many, it did not turn out too well. Condo fees are simply too high (it's a racket), association fees are highish too (another racket), and then there is the required maintenance, like the mandatory grass mowing, unoccupied residence insurance (higher), and the real nasty: The non-resident property tax. If you're there for less than 180 days, the non-resident tax applies, which is generally double of the resident real estate tax.
But you say: No problem, I'll rent my place out. Two problems: YOU want to be there instead of renters (Jan-April) - which is the best rental market. In the summer you could just be paying the maintenance/rental company's fee without much action. And then there is the damage/wear-and-tear, unscheduled repairs issues - fixed by the most expensive guy in the County, at the maintenance company's discretion - of course...
(They are not saints)

Just trying to help; some did not do so well in this regard, should you be thinking in this direction...

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johnnyatkinson
7/9/2014 13:07 EST

Russia will be a much safer place to be than America over the next 36 months anyway. if you have the chanceo or the balls get out while you can

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peddington
7/11/2014 05:19 EST

Indeed Mr Know-it-all! You can call a tax "value added" or "I said so tax" it is still a tax on the item you purchase. Cleverly it is already in the price so Hungarians have been inoculated with accepting it. If the 27% (or in some cases less on some items) would be added at the cash register maybe the people would feel differently paying it!

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peddington
7/11/2014 05:24 EST

I wish well to all those who want to move to Russia. I say good riddance! But it would not be for me. I only wish my ex would move back there...
Funny why doesn't Russians who left want to move back there...strange!

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peddington
7/11/2014 05:24 EST

I wish well to all those who want to move to Russia. I say good riddance! But it would not be for me. I only wish my ex would move back there...
Funny why doesn't Russians who left want to move back there...strange!

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peddington
7/11/2014 05:26 EST

By safe you mean that you can't possess an item of self defense, you may be followed by KGB/GRU and you will not be alone waiting at bureaucratic offices, then you are right! You will be relatively safe!

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Hotjazzman
7/15/2014 08:21 EST

Paddington;
Value added tax (VAT) vs.Sales Tax are two quite different things like I have explained above, so no further explanation is forthcoming in this post.
You are full of it Paddington, (some would call it intellectually bankrupt) trying to defend the indefensible.
It's like saying, that Fuji apples and pineapples are the same, since they are both fruits and both are called some kind of "apple".

Pathetic.

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Hotjazzman
7/15/2014 08:37 EST

Paddinton;
You are DEAD wrong -again.

I personally knew at my work place in the Washington DC area three (3) green-carded Russians who returned to Europe/Russia.
They were in the US for university studies, but they were allowed to stay and work past graduation indefensibly. All in their second hals twenties, all single.
The girl returned to Russia - St. Petersburg - first. The other guy returned to Novasibirsk a couple months later. The third guy went three mos later to London (UK).

I was in touch with them for a while thereafter via emails.

They were all happy to be out of the US; they didn't like it there. This happened in 2010 - BTW. It's interesting, that these were the ONLY Russians (ethnic Russians - not Russian Jews) I personally knew, yet all three left the US, and two of them went straight back to Russia even though they were young, educated and could stay as long as they wanted to.

They did plainly tell me in no uncertain terms, that they felt LESS FREE (personal, political freedom) in the US, with less entrepreneurial opportunities, than in Russia.

So there, Paddington, live and LEARN.

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Hotjazzman
7/15/2014 08:49 EST

Paddington;

Where do you live? There is no KGB, and hasn't been for 20 years.
There is the FSB (in Russia) but they are a different bunch, and HU has no common border with RU - in case you didn't know...

As far as personal defense, right now gas pistols are legal, so are pepper sprays, and also high voltage stun guns; but not the ones that shoot out a pair of electrodes, but the kind which has to touch the skin (or thin clothes) in order to be effective.

Paddington, you don't even LIVE in HU - based on your consistently, obviously, uninformed responses.

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